Suzhou Industrial Park (hereinafter referred to as SIP) is an important cooperative project between the governments of China and Singapore. Approved by the State Council in February 1994 and launched in May 1994, SIP covers a total jurisdiction area of 278 square kilometers, among which 80 square kilometers belongs to China-Singapore Cooperative Zone with a permanent resident population of 807,800.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have all along attached great importance to the development of SIP. At the end of 2014, General Secretary Xi Jinping specifically mentioned it in his important address when paying a visit to Jiangsu Province, encouraging SIP to play a demonstration role in terms of openness, innovation and comprehensive reform.
In October 2015, it was given approval to take the lead in initiating comprehensive pilots of openness and innovation by the State Council, providing lessons for other development areas in the country to be updated and innovative. Over the past two decades of its development, SIP, supported by the central as well as the provincial and municipal government, has made remarkable achievements in economic and social development. In 2016, the gross regional product reached 215.06 billion yuan (about 32.58 billion USD), registering a year-on-year increase of 7.2%. Public finance budget revenues achieved 28.81 billion yuan (about 4.37 billion USD), an increase of 12%, 93.1% of which were acquired through taxes. The total volume of import and export amounted to 490.3 billion yuan (about 74.29 billion USD) and the foreign capital in actual use reached 1.05 billion US dollars. The average disposable income of urban residents amounted to 61,300 yuan (about 9,300 USD), an increase of 8.1%. The expenditure of R&D accounted for 3.36% of GDP, and per capita GDP was about 40,000 US dollars. SIP has been in the forefront among other development zones in China in terms of complex development index, innovation-driven effect, intensive development and quality and perfomance index.
SIP has done the main work in recent years:
1. Building an industrial system with distinctive characteristics. SIP has grasped opportunities such as the gradient transfer of global industries and the rebuilding of value-chain, struck the right balance between industrial introduction and cultivation, and striven to develop high-end, high-tech industries, thus forming a particular industrial system of 2+3 (2 refers to two major industries, namely electronic information and machinery manufacturing; 3 refers to three strategic emerging industries, namely biological medicine, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology application). Over 4,800 foreign investment projects were attracted and the actual use of foreign capital reached 29.4 billion US dollars. A total of 92 companies that are on the list of the global 500 companies invested in 156 projects in this area. SIP has invested in 145 projects of hundreds of millions of dollars, 7 of which topped one billion dollars, forming two industrial clusters in information technology and machinery manufacture. The output of high-tech industry took up 66.2% of the above-scale industrial output. In recent years, SIP has actively implemented the Made in China 2025 initiative, and has deeply integrated industrialization and information technology by developing smart manufacturing. Proactive efforts were also made to accelerate the shift from manufacturing to “manufacturing + developing + marketing + serving”, along with the shift from engineering factories to company headquarters. At present, there are 161 foreign-invested R&D institutions in SIP, 36 of which are identified as provincial-level headquarters accounting for 20% of the total number of Jiangsu’s provincial-level headquarters. Based on its industry foundation, SIP gave full play of its comparative strengths, and tried to create industries with distinctive local features, which will take the lead nationwide as well as worldwide. SIP pioneered the development of artificial intelligence industry, and introduced the Three-Year Action Plan on Developing Artificial Intelligence Industry as well as its relative policies. The output value of bio-pharmaceutical, artificial intelligence and application of Nanotechnology last year was 48 billion yuan (about 7.3 billion USD), 28 billion yuan (4.24 billion USD) and 38 billion yuan (about 7.8 billion USD), up by 24%, 25% and 36% over the previous year, respectively. Together with Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park and Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, SIP has been leading the nation in bio-pharmaceutical, which helps it win the honor of one of the eight most representative development zones in the field of micro/nano tech throughout the world. Besides, many global giants have set up industry bases or R&D centers in SIP, such as Baidu, Huawei, Tencent, Didi, Iflytek, Apple, Microsoft and Siemens. Great efforts are made to build SIP into a highland of artificial intelligence, which enjoys a reputation both at home and abroad.
2. Implementing the strategy of cohesion and innovation. SIP seized the opportunity of National Innovative Demonstration Zone construction in south Jiangsu, gathered top innovative elements, pushed forward innovation and entrepreneurship, and created as well as constructing an innovation ecosystem. Diversified scientific and technological carriers covering an area of over 6 million square meters, 30 public technological service platforms, and over 20 national innovation work bases have been constructed. SIP actively carries out the introduction and recruitment of distinguished scientific research institutions and prestigious colleges and universities. Ten leading research institutions in China have been brought in, including the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO), Chinese Academy of Science; the Suzhou Institute of Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, etc. 500 advanced research and development institutions have also been introduced, including Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), Harvard Weitz Innovation Hub, Microsoft Suzhou Technology Center, Central Research Institute of GCL Group, etc. In addition, 29 high-level colleges and universities at home and abroad have been introduced as well, including University of Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, University of California, Los Angeles and National University of Singapore. There are totally 78,500 students in these institutions, colleges and universities. Therefore, SIP was approved as the first “International Demonstration Zone of Higher Education”. For the sake of introducing high-end talents, SIP has deeply implemented “Jinji Lake Double Hundred Talents Program”. 143 candidates in the program are enrolled in the national “Thousand Talents Program”. Among them, 57 are geared to entrepreneur category, accounting for nearly 7% of national quota. SIP owns the largest number of talents with junior college degree or above in all national development zones. And SIP was approved as a national “overseas innovation and entrepreneurship base of high-tech talent”, “offshore innovation and business base of overseas talent” of China Association for Science and Technology, and the personnel work contact point of Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. The dominant status of enterprise innovations is highly stressed; “enterprises-rooted” plans and self-brand enterprises cultivation plan have been put into comprehensive implementation. SIP strives for developing and expanding innovative and entrepreneurial enterprise clusters. So far, there are over 4000 technological innovation-based enterprises, 828 national high-tech enterprises, 17 main board listed companies and 98 of the New Third Board listed companies. SIP possesses a total of 124 valid invention patents in every 10,000 people, keeping ahead in the Jiangsu province. Capital factor markets such as Suzhou Financial Assets Exchange Center and Suzhou Equity Exchange Center have been successively established. Dong Shahu fund town was selected as the first batch of “Jiangsu Characteristic Town”. Regional equity investment fund scale has exceeded 120 billion yuan (about 18.2 billion USD). The technological and financial service system covering the whole life circles of innovative enterprises has been increasingly improving. 67 maker spaces have been set in SIP such as Silicon Valley PNP, Baidu Start-up Center, Tencent Cloud Base and TianGong of Soochow University, 13 of which are included in the national maker space list. “Start-up Corridor of Jinji Lake” was approved as “2017 top 10 entrepreneurial park”.
3. Optimizing living environment. With the visions of “no plans, no development”, “planning at first, followed by construction”, “below-ground first, above-ground second” as well as “remaining true to the original blueprint”, SIP drew up and improved more than 300 professional plans. Meanwhile, a series of strict systems for managing the plans were formulated so as to ensure that those plans are rigorously enforced. SIP has been committed to industry-city integration and synchronously advancing the upgrading of industry and city as SIP has never taken a mode of solely developing industry into consideration. As such, SIP achieved positive interactions and harmony between industry and city. Now, service industry is seeing a growing prosperity for its added value has accounted for 43.8% of GDP and more than 800 financial organizations are concentrated at SIP. Besides, SIP gave priority to the construction of finance and trade district, science and education innovation district, international business district and tourist resort. With long-continued effort, SIP has been approved as the first “National Business Tourism Demonstration Area” and the Yangcheng Lake Peninsula has been listed in the first batch of national resorts in China. SIP took the lead in putting information technology in holistic strategies of regional development. Thus Suzhou was selected among the first group of smart city pilots in China. Meanwhile, Suzhou became the first demonstration zone in China for digital city development. Protection of the ecology has been made a priority. As such, SIP has been dedicated to advancing the action plan for ecological optimization, as well as major projections of ecological management annually. In order to strengthen the comprehensive treatment of environment in urban areas, in recent years, SIP not only has launched a special campaign on environmental protection called “Two Reductions, Six Treatments and Three Promotions”, but also has advanced “Four Actions” including grassroots visiting, general investigation, environmental treatment and management promotion. At this stage, SIP’s coal consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP is 0.254 tons. The average green land area reaches 29.1 square meters. All these are gradually catching up with the group of developed countries. Chemical oxygen demand per unit of GDP is one-eighteenth of the national average level. Sulfur dioxide emission is one-fortieth of the national average level. With a 97.4 comprehensive index of regional environmental quality, SIP has passed ISO14000 Environmental Management System Certification and was awarded as one of the first batch of “National Ecological Industry Demonstration Districts” in China.
4. Advancing opening up and innovation. SIP worked scrupulously to ensure compliance with the approval of the State Council and promoted open innovation comprehensive test. Every year, SIP sets a batch of key tasks for reform. Up to now, 48 new measures for reform have been formed and some achievements of reform pilots have been modeled and popularized nationwide on different levels. SIP adheres to the principle of problem-oriented, positions the reform target, cracks the bottleneck of development and actively carries out pioneering explorations. The experience of reform and innovation in free trade areas like Shanghai has been taken as a model. Pilot programs in SIP have been effectively underway, including the comprehensive pilot test of building a new system for an open economy, qualification of general taxpayers of enterprises in Integrated Free Trade Zone and trade diversification. SIP further promotes the reform of “streamlining government and delegating powers, supervising fairly and serving effectively”, and has formed the features of “guarantee by large department system, support by informatization, approval without meeting, professional service, platform supervision”. Under the principle of “simplifying and unifying efficiency”, SIP impels the reform of large department system, establishing departments dealing with economic development, planning and construction, cultural management, administration, law enforcement and market supervision. SIP has formed the “Five-Ones” governance framework, namely, “one seal in charge of examination and approval, one team in charge of law enforcement, one department in charge of markets, one platform in charge of credit, and one network in charge of services”. SIP presses ahead with the approval service model of “managing online, approving collectively, examining jointly, assessing regionally, “agency system”. With the reform of relatively centralized administrative licensing as an opportunity, SIP has vigorously restructured the examination and approval process and promoted government simplification and powers delegation. 3 offices, more than 30 approval personnel and 1 seal of approval remains, the original number of which are nearly 30, more than 90 and 16, respectively. The adjustment has greatly decreased enterprises’ costs of institutional transaction. SIP has been actively exploring the “2333” reform, that is, enterprises register and open for business within 2 working days, acquire landed estate property within 3 days, obtain construction permit for industrial production or construction project within 33 working days. SIP has taken the initiative in integrating into national strategies such us the “One Belt and One Road ” and the Yangtze River economic belt, and promoted the construction of demonstration platforms of national offshore investment service. “Going-global” projects has made further progress, such as Suzhou Suqian Industrial Park, Su-Tong Science and Technology Park, Suzhou and Chuzhou Modern Industrial Park, Khorgas Development Zone, Suzhou Industrial Park-Xiangheng District Cooperative Development Zone, indicating that the mode as well as experience of SIP’s development have been well replicated and popularized.
5. Continuing to increase people’s well-being. Efforts have been made to build a permanent mechanism to increase people’s income, with a focus on helping SIP residents in re-employment and the new-generation residents in relocation. Now the relocated residents in SIP have a stable employment rate of over 98 percent and the per capita disposable income of urban residents has been on the top list in Jiangsu Province. SIP has practiced eight projects about regional integration (planning construction, industrial pattern, infrastructure, public service, social security, social management, ecological environment, civilization quality). In recent years, the total financial investment has been nearly 2 billion yuan. SIP has transformed and upgraded 43 relocated communities with an area of 10.87 million square meters, benefiting over 50 thousand households of relocated residents whose living environment and quality of life have been significantly improved. SIP sticks to the direction of modernization, equalization, specialization and internationalization and continues to optimize the allocation of educational resources and the public education system. It is the first to realize education integration management, quickly becoming the “educational highland” from the “educational depression”. Construction of medical institutions has been carried out and a 15-minute health service circle been established for residents in order to reach the level of developed countries in the three main health indicators. Social security system has been improved to achieve a comprehensive integration of urban-rural social security and endowment insurance system. SIP has attached great importance to cultural construction, setting up Suzhou Ballet Theatre and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra in succession and organized a series of international activities of recreation and sports such as Suzhou Jinji Lake International Half Marathon, Dragon Boat Race and Biennial. SIP has promoted the innovation of social management, forming a community service mode with the style of “one package service, all sections and all day long”, and it has entered the first batch of national pilot projects of “smart community construction of service information for people-benefit project”. Activities are normally conducted such as “Public Opinion Day”, and a set of realistic livelihood projects are implemented every year, which have enhanced the sense of gain and happiness in SIP dwellers. The three-year promotion plan for safe production has been further carried out, and the construction of a safe and legal SIP has been constantly deepened with a result of maintaining social harmony and stability.
6. Strengthening all-around Party building. The guidelines from the 18th National Party Congress and those of the third through sixth plenary sessions of the 18th Party Central Committee have been scrupulously implemented and the guidance of the thinking laid out in the important speeches，especially those during the inspection in Jiangsu Province, of General Secretary Xi Jinping has been adhered to. The awareness to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment is firmly established. Every effort has been made to fully strengthen Party self-governance, in consistence with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core in terms of thinking, political stand, and action. SIP has been fully implementing innovative Party construction at grassroots level, with opinions on strengthening and improving the construction under the new circumstances issued and 1,962 grassroots Party units established all around the district, including 1162 non-public enterprises ones which account for 97 percent of the total. The mass line campaign and the campaign to build understanding of the Three Stricts and Three Honests have been earnestly undertaken. The promotion of normalization and institutionalization of the Two Studies, One Action is also underway. SIP has been strictly dedicated to cadres team construction, formulating and introducing the Four Mechanisms and Six Measures on protection of performance of duty, performance assessment, innovation incentive and accountability system, with Guidelines for the Conduct of Staff in SIP promoted. Management and governance of the party is conducted with stringency, with disciplines and rules put at the first place. The Party Central Committee's eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct, as well as relevant provisions issued by the Provincial and Municipal Party Committee have been under strict enforcement, in the hope of making a solid progress in building a clean government and conducting anti-corruption work, with severe investigations and prosecutions of violations of the law or discipline. A number of hot spots and difficulties among the masses have been resolved through campaigns such as division-chief level officials keeping close liaison with the top 100 key enterprises，government officials going down to make research at the community-level and investigative visits titled “Six-Ones”.
In the next period, SIP will put into practice the thinking laid out in the important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his new vision, thinking, and strategies for China’s governance with promotion of balanced economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress. Meanwhile coordinated implementation of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy will be continuously carried out with a firm awareness to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment. The new vision of development will be followed, with transformation and upgrading through innovation and enrichment of the Park experience through increase of people’s wealth. SIP will sternly play its role of comprehensive pilot of openness and innovation, improve the quality and returns of development and boost the construction of a high-tech industrial park with a reputation both at home and abroad. SIP is making an earnest endeavour to take the lead in the new practice of the ‘two focuses on innovation and people’s well-being and a high-quality fulfillment of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects” and the construction of a new Jiangsu of “strong economy, wealthy people, environmental beauty and cultivated society”. These efforts should enable us to pave the way for the 19th National Party Congress with outstanding achievements.